Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is to trim 30,000-40,000 jobs over the next two years. Most of the jobs will go from its overseas – that is non-Japanese – payrolls. Japanese news media say they are the most serious job cuts to face any of the Japanese consumer majors, and represents about 10 percent of its workforce. The aim is to streamline overlapping operations in order to maintain profitability. As at the end of March Panasonic employed some 367,000 staff globally, of which about 60 percent worked overseas.
Panasonic’s president Fumio Ohtsubo, in this second round of job cuts since the global financial crisis, is on record as saying that the company’s restructuring is needed to boost competiveness when compared to South Korean and Chinese manufacturers.
The recent earthquake and tsunami catastrophes have not helped Panasonic’s predicament. Japanese production (overall) fell by 15.3 percent in March, from February, the biggest fall since 1953. Japanese household spending fell by 8.5 percent during the month.
Panasonic spent more than $6 billion purchasing stakes in Sanyo Electric Co and consolidating Panasonic Electric Works Co last year to boost its energy-related businesses.